Nepal beat Uzbekistan, qualify for U-17 C’ship

Kathmandu, November 17:

Goalkeeper Rupak Shrestha made some brilliant saves as Nepal beat Uzbekistan 2-0 and entered the last 16 of the AFC Under-17 Championship to be held in Singapore next year. In the must-win Group F qualifying tournament match at Dasharath Stadium, the Nepali glovesman saved as many as three certain goals, while Chetan Ghimire scored in the injury time after Uzbekistan’s own goal had given Nepal a lead. Nepal took lead in the 72nd minute through an own goal after Bobirjon Domlajonov’s shot went towards his own post and goalkeeper Suhrobjon Sultanov committed a silly mistake and let the ball behind him. In the dying moments, Ghimire doubled the lead on skipper Ranjit Shrestha’s corner. Nepal topped the pool with six points,.

Nepal failed to attack Uzbekistan post in the first half while the visitors made four strong attempts. Goalkeeper Shrestha punched Isroiljon Ergashev’s powerful shot in the 15th minute. Rupak was forced to another brilliant save by striker Alisher Azizov in the next minute, while the glovesman was spectacular in the 24th minute when he punched out Zokhir Pirimov’s powerful shot. Uzbekistan almost scored in the 45th minute, but Bikash Singh Chhetry cleared the ball from goal line on Uzbekistan striker Sukhrob Berdiev’s attempt following a cross from Isroiljon Ergashev.

Nepal coach Raju Shakya was happy with the result, but was not satisfied with the players’ performance. “We qualified for the championship, but the players failed to meet our expectations,” he said. Uzbekistan coach Desmond Donaldson Bulpin said that the better side lost. “Lots of things in this world are not fair, and the match was just one,” he said. “We were the favourites and we worked very hard, but lost.”